Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer Near. Phone Fear. Breakers Here?

When I returned home from our quick trip to Palm Desert, there was a phone message waiting for me that made me slightly nervous. It was from the neighbor who shares a portion of our back fence, and I hadn't heard from her since my sons used to kick balls into her yard with a little too much frequency in their junior high and high school days. Not that she was ever unpleasant about it, mind you...She seemed like a very nice person. Yet our having inconvenienced the poor woman to the point of her contacting us had made me somewhat uncomfortable at the time.

And now here she was again, years later, on my voice mail. Even worse, it was too late to call her back. I would have to wait until morning to find out what she wanted, because the mysterious voice mail gave no hint of it. She simply asked me to telephone her as soon as I received the message. 

As I hung up the phone, having made a careful list of every call we had missed, the one that stayed on my mind was hers. What could she want, I asked myself. Have we done something to annoy her? (Again?) Does she think the next-door neighbor's constantly barking new dog belongs to us? On a happier note, it then occurred to me that maybe she only wanted to replace a portion of the fence we shared. Sure, that must be it. But then, why hadn't she just said that in the message? Why had she sounded so...odd...and sort of...ill at ease...? 

I thought of her the minute I woke up the next morning. Despite an increasing eagerness to satisfy my curiosity and call her, I decided to wait till 9 AM. No need to compound whatever offense I already may have committed by rousting her out of bed before she was ready. To my chagrin, she circumvented my telephoning her by calling me at 8:45. Shoot. Now I had added not getting back to her before she felt compelled to call again to my list of crimes. (At this point I had to laugh at myself. Sheesh! I was filled with guilt that didn't even have a basis in reality. Not yet, at least...)

My neighbor got right to the point, explaining to me that she and her son had walked outside on Saturday afternoon and found their yard completely flooded, flower beds and all. (My body stiffened at this news, hoping against hope that somehow this event, which she clearly considered a fiasco, had nothing to do with me. Maybe she was just worried about my yard, too, and wanted to warn me that my plants and foliage might have been similarly over-watered.) Alas, her next words nipped that most desirable scenario in the bud. Apparently her son, searching for the source of all that unwelcome irrigation, eventually looked over our fence...only to find that our pool water, turned on full blast, had been left running...flooding first our entire yard and then hers. It must have been quite a flood, too, because her property sits considerably higher than mine. In other words, my whole back yard must have looked as much like a swimming pool as my swimming pool did. (And the water must have contained similar amounts of chlorine, which was not exactly her idea of Miracle Gro.)

My heart sank as I apologized up one side and down the other for this unfortunate occurrence. She was pretty gracious, too, under the circumstances. In fact, she was actually calling more to apologize for invading my yard to stop the flow (after enlisting my next-door neighbor to assist her...the one with the barking new dog) than to criticize me for having left the pool water on. Of course, I thanked her profusely. (I hadn't left the pool water on, by the way; my daughter had, and she felt awful about it until she realized I was so grateful she had been trying to help by filling up our too-low-to-be-safe-for-the-filter pool that I wasn't a bit upset with her.) 

Besides, something good has come of it! I have finally caught the vision of ALL the possibilities in my back yard and can now understand more fully (even feel as one with) my grandson...

Sometimes being prepared can make a person look silly.
(Until the flood comes, that is...)
Then you look like a prophet.

Surf's up, little dude



Natalie said...

Oh my gosh! I was totally nervous as I read that story!! I'm glad she didn't make you feel even worse than you already did, and glad you didn't make your daughter feel worse than she already did! I like that need to make people feel worse when they already feel remorse.

Also, grandson on the board....PERFECT ending to a story that made me feel panicky!! Too cute :)

em said...

OH DEAR! this is a fabulous story! i love stories, especially suspenseful ones that make me read SUPER SUPER fast, then resulting in rereading b/c i missed something. and your title? the icing on the cake.

karen said...

Wow - it could have been SO MUCH WORSE. I had a pipe break in my house one day while at work and it flooded the whole house. My neighbor let the firemen in before I got home (he is a cop)and there were holes punched in the ceiling to drain the water and it was gushing down the street. Your pool could have gotten in your houses - that would have been bad. Cute pic of your grandson - love it!

Katie Blacker said...

I am so glad you got them and like them! I can't figure out how to translate the shimmer. your blog is AwESOme! i loved this entry. I have had phone fear too many times to count.

KC Mom said...

The only time we talk to our neighbors is when we're in trouble, so I got a sick stomach just reading this.
I can't imagine how cruddy I would have felt if my basement flood somehow flooded my neighbors too! It was hard enough as it was!!
Love the picture!

Heather Anderson said...

crazy story!

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